jerryking + subscriptions   38

What will Apple do without Jony Ive?
June 27, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Bradshaw, Global Technology Correspondent.

Sir Jonathan prepares to move on from Apple to launch his own new venture, LoveFrom, after more than two decades at the Silicon Valley giant.....As a company worth nearly $1tn, Apple today is financially secure. But Sir Jonathan's looming departure will once again raise questions about its future. 

This is not the first time that Sir Jonathan’s role has evolved. In recent years, his design expertise has extended beyond crafting Apple’s pocketable devices. He helped retail chief Angela Ahrendts overhaul its stores, from fixtures such as its tree-lined “Genius Groves”, down to simplifying product packaging. 

More significantly, he oversaw the company’s long-planned move to its new headquarters, Apple Park, which was first conceived with Jobs back in 2004 and designed in partnership with British architects Foster + Partners.....Speaking at a Wired magazine event in 2018, he appeared to suggest that he was back for the long haul, saying: “There’s an awful lot to do and an awful lot of opportunity.” ....Apple Park...brought Apple’s entire design team together for the first time into one purpose-built studio, with industrial designers sitting side by side with font and interface designers......Perhaps the most important legacy that Jon Ive leaves . . . is the team.”.......By Apple’s outsized standards, the tight-knit group of people who work on product design is small. It runs to just a few dozen people out of an organisation that employs some 132,000 staff.....
Yet the team wields a disproportionate influence inside the Cupertino-based company. With an extensive array of tooling and fabrication equipment that is rarely found outside a manufacturing plant, the studio explores new product categories and the materials that might build them, from unique blends of aluminium to ceramics. 

They define not only a product’s appearance but how its software looks and feels, how it responds to gestures, even how an iPhone or Watch gently vibrates to give a user “haptic feedback”. 

“No group within Apple has more power than the industrial designers,” ......Jonathan Ive has thousands of patents to his name, encompassing the original iPod and iPhone to more obscure innovations, including the iPad’s magnetic cover, the Apple Store’s wooden tables and a lanyard used to attach an iPod to a wrist......Jonathan’s departure is likely to reopen a debate that has been simmering for several years — namely how will Apple come up with a new hit product that can match the unprecedented success of the iPhone, whose record-breaking profits propelled Apple to become the first trillion-dollar company last year........it may be that no single product ever will top the iPhone — for any tech company, not just Apple. It is a question that hangs over Silicon Valley as the industry casts around for a new platform, be it virtual reality or smart speakers, that might become as ubiquitous and essential as the smartphone.........Apple is also putting greater attention on an expanding portfolio of online services, including games, news and video........Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive have both pointed to healthcare as a potential new market for Apple, building on the Watch’s new capabilities for detecting heart irregularities.....Healthcare is just one example of how the battleground has changed for Apple in recent years. Despite pioneering virtual assistants with Siri, Apple found itself outflanked by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant in both sales of smart speakers and artificial intelligence capabilities.

New blood at Apple

Some analysts believe that new blood could invigorate Apple’s response to these challenges. Alongside the high-profile departures of Ms Ahrendts and Sir Jonathan, Apple poached John Giannandrea from Google to become its head of machine learning and AI strategy, as well as Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amberg from Sony Pictures Television to run its push into original video. 

“The apparent acceleration in the pace of change within Apple at the executive level reflects the paradigm shift the company is undergoing from a hardware-driven story to ‘Apple as a service’,....... the most significant concern for investors will be that Sir Jonathan’s departure will take away another arbiter of focus and product direction that Apple had already lost with the death of Jobs.....Jonathan’s focus is growing beyond the steel and glass borders of Apple Park, saying he wants to “solve some complicated problems”. .....“One defining characteristics is almost a fanatical curiosity,” he said. “But if you don’t have the space, if you don’t have the tools and the infrastructure, that curiosity can often not have the opportunity to be pursued.”

LoveFrom itself defies traditional categorisation. “I have no interest in creating yet another design agency,” he said firmly. “What’s important is the values and what motivates that collection of people …Small groups of people, I think as Apple has demonstrated over the years, can do some extraordinary things.”

 

 

 
Alexa  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Park  artificial_intelligence  breakthroughs  curiosity  design  departures  exits  Google_Assistant  haptics  healthcare  Jonathan_Ive  LoveFrom  new_categories  new_products  patents  services  Silicon_Valley  Siri  smart_speakers  subscriptions  teams  Tim_Cook  virtual_assistants 
june 2019 by jerryking
How Spotify’s algorithms are ruining music
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | Michael Hann.

(1) FINAL DAYS OF EMI, By Eamonn Forde, Omnibus, RRP£20, 320 pages
(2) SPOTIFY TEARDOWN, By Maria Eriksson, Rasmus Fleischer, Anna Johansson, Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 288 pages
(3) WAYS OF HEARING, By Damon Krukowski, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 136 pages

In April, the IFPI — the global body of the recording industry — released its latest annual Global Music Report. For the fourth consecutive year, revenues were up, to a total of $19.1bn, from a low of $14.3bn in 2014. Nearly half those revenues came from music streaming, driven by a 33 per cent rise in paid subscriptions to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal...... It is worth remembering that 20 years ago, the IFPI reported global music revenues of $38.6bn. Today’s “booming” recording industry is less than half the size it was at the turn of the century.....The nadir for the recording industry coincided with the first shoots of its regrowth. ....In August 2007, the British record company EMI — the fourth of the majors, alongside Universal, Sony and Warner — was bought by private equity firm Terra Firma (Guy Hands, the fund’s founder and chairman) for $4.7bn; a year later, a Swedish company called Spotify took its music streaming service public. The former was, perhaps, the last gasp of the old way of doing things — less than four years after buying EMI, Terra Firma was unable to meet its debts, and ceded control of the company to its main lender, Citigroup. Before 2011 was out, the process of breaking up EMI had begun...EMI’s demise was foreshadowed before Hands arrived, with a blaze of hubris in the early 2000s. Forde, a longtime observer and chronicler of the music business recounts the “disastrous and expensive” signings of that era......Handspreached the need to use data when signing artists, not just the “golden ears” of talent scouts; data are now a key part of the talent-spotting process.

* to qualify as having been listened to on Spotify, a song has to have been played for 30 seconds.
* hit songs have become increasingly predictable, offering up all their pleasures in the opening half-minute. Their makers dare not risk scaring off listeners.
* for all the money that the streaming services have generated for the music industry, very little of it flows back to any musicians except the select few who dominate the streaming statistics,

.......On Spotify, music consumption has been reorganised around “behaviours, feelings and moods” channelled through curated playlists and motivational messages......The data Spotify collects enable the industry to work out who its market is, where it lives, what else they like, how often they listen to music — almost anything, really. It’s the greatest assemblage of information about music listeners in history, and it has profoundly altered the industry: it has made Spotify music’s kingmaker......when an artist travels abroad to promote a new album, the meeting with the local Spotify office is more important than the TV appearances or the newspaper interviews. ...Spotify enables artists to plan their band’s set lists so they can play the most popular song in any given city.............So what? What does it matter if one model of music distribution has been replaced by another.....It matters because Spotify has profoundly changed the listener’s relationship with music....Older musicians often wax about how, when you had to buy your own music as a kid, you listened to it until you liked it, because you wouldn’t be able to afford a new album for another month. Now you simply skip to the next one, and probably don’t give it your full attention. Without ownership, there’s no incentive to study...........Faced with the impossibly wide choice of Spotify, it becomes easier to return to old favourites — easier than when flicking through your vinyl or CDs, because the act of looking through your own music makes things you had not thought of in years leap out at you. Spotify actually makes people into more conservative listeners, a process aided by its algorithms, which steer you towards music similar to your most frequent listening.....The theme of Krukowski’s book is that the changes in the way the music industry works have been about controlling and eliminating excess noise. That’s in a literal sense and in a metaphorical one, too. Streaming has stripped music of context, pared it back to being just about the song and the moment....but noise is the context of life. Without noise, the signal becomes meaningless......The world of the old EMI was one of both signal and noise; where myths and legends could be created: The Beatles! Queen! The Beach Boys! Pink Floyd! It was never all about the signal. The world of Spotify is one of signal only, and if you don’t appreciate that signal within the first 30 seconds of the song...all may be lost
abundance  algorithms  Apple_Music  books  book_reviews  business_models  curation  cultural_transmission  data  decontextualization  EMI  gatekeepers  Guy_Hands  hits  indoctrination  iTunes  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_industry  music_publishing  noise  piracy  platforms  playlists  royalties  ruination  securitization  signals  songs  Spotify  streaming  subscriptions  talent  talent_scouting  talent_spotting  Terra_Firma  Tidal  transformational 
may 2019 by jerryking
Five things we learnt from Apple’s latest launch
March 27, 2019 | | Financial Times | Richard Waters 3 HOURS AGO.

(1) With its move to services, Apple's balance sheet and installed base of users have taken over as the main source of competitive advantage....Apple has barely scratched the surface in selling content and services for the 1.4bn iPhone, Macs and other devices in active use.
(2) there is a chance to carve out a trusted position at a time when other internet giants are under fire. Think of it as a Disney for digital services: a trusted brand built around a set of values that stand above the crowd.
(3) there is still room for innovation at the margin, which should have a halo effect for the brand. The new credit card with Goldman Sachs is a case in point.
(4) Apple’s main way to make money — selling hardware — leaves it with a dilemma as it makes the move into services. .... it will be hard to get a return on the huge spending on entertainment unless it spreads that investment across the largest possible audience — which means reaching beyond its own hardware. This tension between vertical and horizontal business models — capturing more of the value from its own devices on the one hand, selling a service for everyone on the other — is not new for Apple.

(5) after more than a decade of the App Store, Apple’s relationship with many of the companies that have relied on the digital storefront to reach their own customers is about to change utterly...How will Apple promote its own services to its users, and what will this mean for iOS as a platform for third party apps? Spotify’s antitrust complaint to the EU this month is likely to be the harbinger of more challenges to come.
antitrust  Apple  Apple_IDs  App_Store  balance_sheets  Big_Tech  competitive_advantage  consumer_finance  credit_cards  cross-platform  EU  halo_effects  hardware  iOS  Richard_Waters  services  Spotify  streaming  subscriptions  turning_points  user_bases  web_video 
march 2019 by jerryking
With the iPhone Sputtering, Apple Bets Its Future on TV and News
March 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

The iPhone is running out of juice. To go beyond the device that made Apple Inc. a global colossus, Tim Cook is betting on a suite of services—marking the company’s biggest shift in more than a decade......Apple will take a giant leap forward announcing video- and news-subscription services that it hopes will generate billions of dollars in new annual revenue and deepen ties between iPhone users and the company.....apps and services, from Spotify to Netflix to China’s WeChat , have often become more important to users than the devices that run them. .....The company’s ambition in video is to become an alternative to cable, combining original series with shows from other networks to create a new entertainment service that can reach more than 100 markets world-wide. ....Apple hasn’t said what it will charge for the programming. .....The original series will be delivered in a new TV app that staff have been calling a Netflix killer.....Apple has been negotiating to bring its new TV app to multiple platforms, including Roku and smart TVs.........Apple plans to showcase a revamped News app that includes a premium tier with access to more than 200 magazines—including Bon Appétit, People and Glamour—as well as newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal.....The Washington Post and New York Times aren’t participating in the new app...... in the early 2000s, co-founder Steve Jobs reinvented the company by pushing it into mobile devices. The iPod and its accompanying iTunes service revived a company that was largely dependent on Mac computer sales....Mr. Cook is attempting a similar feat in the approaching twilight of the smartphone era....Cook wanted to know which apps were selling well, how many Apple Music subscribers stuck with the service, and how many people were signing up for iCloud storage.....Apple’s biggest source of services revenue comes from distributing other companies’ software through its App Store.....Apple’s music-streaming service has about 50 million global subscribers—far behind Spotify’s 96 million.

Apple’s base of 1.4 billion iPhones, iPads and Macs in use globally gives it a distribution platform..................The push into news subscriptions could help Apple battle Facebook, whose News Feed has helped it become the No. 1 app world-wide in monthly active smartphone users.....Facebook is attempting to become a super-app like China’s WeChat, which allows users to shop, order food, buy movie tickets and make reservations on any mobile operating system......Steve Jobs foreshadowed Apple’s services future when he started iTunes in 2001, offering categories from competing major labels to make the first successful digital-music store, with songs available for 99 cents.

For Mr. Cook’s monthly services meetings, the company monitors of apps that benefit and threaten Apple. There is a "release radar" for Cook to track apps that are expected to sell well and other metrics for the apps that have challenged Apple’s business, including iTunes sales decreases compared with Apple Music subscription growth.
App_Store  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Music  big_bets  CEOs  cloud_computing  Disney  iCloud  iPhone  iTunes  magazines  mobile_applications  multiplatforms  Netflix  news  NYT  original_content  pivots  platforms  services  smartphones  Spotify  storage  streaming  subscriptions  television  Tim_Cook  WaPo  WeChat 
march 2019 by jerryking
Apple’s Executive Shake-Up Readies Company for Life After iPhone
Feb. 18, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

Apple Inc. is shaking up leadership and reordering priorities across its services, artificial intelligence, hardware and retail divisions as it works to reduce the company’s reliance on iPhone sales......The primary reasons for the shifts vary by division. But collectively, they reflect Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies......Apple has also trimmed 200 staffers from its autonomous-vehicle project, and is redirecting much of the engineering resources in its services business, led by Eddy Cue, into efforts around Hollywood programming......The competitive landscape could complicate Apple’s efforts to diversify beyond the iPhone. Media services like Netflix Inc. and Spotify Technology SA have a head start and more subscribers; Google’s autonomous-vehicle initiative has logged more miles on the road; and Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo speakers have put Alexa into millions of homes.

Apple spent $14.24 billion on research and development last year, a 23% increase from the year prior........Though the iPhone still contributes about two-thirds of Apple sales, the company has encouraged investors to focus on a growing services business, which includes streaming-music subscriptions, app-store sales and mobile payments.....The services business also is key to preserving iPhone loyalty. Just as Amazon has used media and music offerings to increase the value of Prime membership, Apple executives view its mobile payments, music service and coming video offering as ways to encourage current iPhone owners to buy future Apple handsets.....Apple is also expected to lean on its artificial-intelligence team to personalize the services on people’s devices.
actors  Apple  App_Store  Apple_IDs  artificial_intelligence  autonomous_vehicles  celebrities  competitive_landscape  hardware  Hollywood  iPhone  leadership  mobile_payments  overreliance  priorities  R&D  retailers  services  smart_speakers  streaming  subscriptions  Tim_Cook 
february 2019 by jerryking
Meg Whitman: ‘Businesses need to think, who’s coming to kill me?’
January 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar 7 HOURS AGO.

Whitman has just launched Quibi, a $1bn start-up of which she is chief executive (entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, her co-founder, is chairman). The venture, backed by a host of entertainment, tech and finance groups including 21st Century Fox, Viacom, Alibaba, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, has the lofty aim of becoming the Netflix of the mobile generation, offering high-quality, bite-sized video content for millennials (and the rest of us) hooked on smartphones......Whitman's experience has left her with plenty of advice for chief executives struggling with nearly every kind of disruption — technological, cultural and geopolitical. “I think every big business needs to be thinking, ‘Who’s coming to kill me?’ Where are the big markets that for regulatory reasons, or just because things are being done the way they always have been, disruption is likely? I’d say healthcare is one,” ...... a “Quibi”, is the new company’s “snackable” videos, designed to be consumed in increments of a few minutes....“You have all these in-between moments, and that’s what inspired the length of the content,” she says. “Very few people are watching long-form content on this device,” she says, holding up her iPhone. “They’re spending four to five hours a day on their phones, but they’re playing games, watching YouTube videos, checking social media, and surfing the internet. And although [people] pick up their phones hundreds of times a day, the average session length is 6.5 minutes.”.......Whitman’s hope is that just as people now binge on hour-long episodes of The Crown or House of Cards at home, they’ll do the same on their smartphone while in the doctor’s office, or commuting, or waiting for a meeting to start. As Whitman puts it, “every day you walk around with a little television in your pocket.” She and Katzenberg are betting that by the end of this year, we’ll spend some of our “in-between moments” watching micro-instalments of mobile movies produced by Oscar winning film-makers or stars ... interviewing other stars. ....The wind was at her back at eBay, where she became president and chief executive in 1998, presiding over a decade in which the company’s annual revenues grew from $4m to $8bn. “It’s hard to change consumer behaviour. We did that at eBay. We taught people how to buy in any auction format on the internet, how to send money 3,000 miles across the country and hope that you got the product.”

Quibi, she believes, doesn’t require that shift. “People are already watching a lot of videos on their phones. You just need to create a different experience.” She lays out how the company will optimise video for phones in ways that (she claims) will utterly change the viewing experience, and will leverage Katzenberg’s 40 years in the business.

..
CEOs  disruption  Meg_Whitman  Rana_Foroohar  start_ups  women  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  mobile  subscriptions  web_video  high-quality  Quibi  smartphones  advice  large_companies  large_markets  interstitial 
january 2019 by jerryking
Apple’s Pressing Challenge: Build Its Services Business - WSJ
By Tripp Mickle
Jan. 10, 2019

The tech landscape is dotted with hardware companies that have turned to services for growth. For companies like International Business Machines Corp. , Hewlett Packard and Dell Technologies Inc., the transition came as they faced slowdowns in their core business and wasn’t always smooth. Those companies pushed into business services. Apple is focused on consumers, whose tastes can change rapidly. Its success hinges on driving sales of apps and new offerings like video content and news subscriptions.......Apple’s services are tied to the amount of iPhones, iPads and Macs in people’s hands—and growth in those devices has begun to slow.
App_Store  Apple  Apple_IDs  challenges  iTunes  services  shifting_tastes  subscriptions 
january 2019 by jerryking
Offering Inspiration and Advice, Real Vision Is HGTV for Hedge Fund Hopefuls - The New York Times
By Landon Thomas Jr.
Oct. 2, 2018

Real Vision offers a way to skip the traditional hedge fund path: slog away at an investment bank or a mutual fund, then settle down in Midtown Manhattan or Greenwich, Conn. For a modest fee, Real Vision will connect investors to a network of elite Wall Street analysts, traders and hedge fund managers, making it easier for novices like Mr. O’Dea to jump the line.

Raoul Pal, a former hedge fund executive who also worked at Goldman Sachs and runs an investment strategy service called Global Macro Investor, co-founded Real Vision. Since then, 20,000 people have signed up, paying $180 a year to hear directly from financial insiders.

It is a vibrant community with an average age of 38, which distinguishes it from CNBC and its more mature audience. Mixing the Netflix payment model with a cozy interview style, Real Vision offers to help upstart investors decode the mysteries of today’s markets. It features those insiders presenting their views in lengthy, explanatory videos: How to short China, the long-term opportunities in emerging markets and the best way to play Bitcoin, among others.
hedge_funds  television  inspiration  subscriptions  investors  explanatory 
october 2018 by jerryking
Craft-Beer Company Taps Streaming Service for Growth - WSJ
By Benjamin Mullin
Aug. 27, 2018

BrewDog, a Scottish beer company, is offering a streaming service featuring more than 100 hours of video centered on drinking culture, the latest effort by a brand to launch its own media venture.

“The BrewDog Network,” available on smartphone apps and online, costs $4.99 a month. Breaking through in a crowded subscription-video market won’t be easy.......The BrewDog Network will carry a mix of licensed and original content where drinking is an element, from food shows to travel series such as “Four Sheets,” hosted by bon vivant Zane Lamprey. “The BrewDog Show,” featuring the company’s founders, will also be available at launch.
liquor  trends  breweries  beers  craftsmanship  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  product_launches  streaming  digital_media  subscriptions 
august 2018 by jerryking
Katzenberg and Whitman raise $1bn for mobile video start-up
August 7, 2018 | | Financial Times | Tim Bradshaw in Los Angeles.

An unusual alliance of Hollywood studios, Wall Street banks and the family fund of Walmart’s founders have invested $1bn into Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s ambitious mobile video start-up, Quibi.

The giant fundraising comes more than a year before the venture, currently known as NewTV, expects to launch its subscription-based service to consumers. 

NewTV plans to bring Hollywood’s multimillion-dollar production values, brand-name talent and franchises to a new standalone mobile app, delivering video in “bite-sized” chapters of up to 10 minutes each. 

As much as $900m of the financing will go towards commissioning and licensing content from top Hollywood studios, many of whom are also investing in the company. 
mobile  web_video  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  Meg_Whitman  Quibi  start_ups  subscriptions 
august 2018 by jerryking
Apple sceptics are looking at the wrong metrics
Tien Tzuo APRIL 30, 2018.

.....When Apple reports its earnings on Tuesday, analysts will be watching closely to see what it says about smartphone sales. The big tech group’s shares are down more than 7 per cent in the past 10 days amid concerns about soft demand for the latest iPhones.

But investors are focusing on the wrong numbers. Apple may be the world’s most valuable company, but its future depends on more than product sales. It must adapt to a profound shift that is changing consumer behaviour. We are witnessing the end of ownership as we know it.
.......With every day that passes Apple cares less about how many iPhones it sells, and more about how many Apple IDs its customers create and how it can make money from those IDs.
.....The end of ownership is disrupting nearly every industry: from retail and entertainment to heavy equipment and healthcare. It is a fundamental shift not just in the way we work and live and accumulate things, but in the way we value ourselves and each other.......Knowing the customers, their preferences, buying habits and how much they are willing to spend are the price of entry in this new economy. Once those relationships are forged and cemented, the data collected, the insights drawn, the real work starts — to anticipate the products and services customers will want next.
.....Volvo understands this. Its latest advertising encourages customers not to buy cars but to subscribe to them instead. The Chinese-owned company is rethinking everything from payment structure and auto design to sales centers and partnerships. Other big automakers including Ford and Porsche are also preparing for the shift away from ownership.....Amazon continues to school all of its rivals in the power of subscriber relationships. A case in point: it recently raised the price of its US Prime membership service by nearly 20 per cent, and its customers didn’t even blink.

That said, many investors are still evaluating companies based on the outdated idea that the number of products they produce will make or break them. But change is coming. The end of ownership is happening whether Wall Street wakes up or not.
Apple  Caterpillar  customer_insights  disruption  end_of_ownership  metrics  shifting_tastes  services  Shazam  subscriptions  Texture  Amazon  Amazon_Prime  Apple_IDs 
may 2018 by jerryking
Torstar cuts jobs, internship programs; board chair says the company is fighting for survival - The Globe and Mail
SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 13, 2018 | |

Torstar Corp. is fighting for survival......The struggles precipitated by declining print advertising, and by a booming digital economy that has been dominated largely by Facebook and Google – at the expense of others who would survive on digital advertising – have led to widespread job cuts. On Monday, the company tightened its belt one more notch, cutting 13 jobs in its digital and sales operations, slashing the Toronto Star's travel and freelance budgets and suspending its summer and year-long internship programs. The Star's internships were among the most prestigious in the country for training young journalists.

While cutting costs, Torstar is also attempting to establish its digital future....... What is your view of the impact consolidation has had in Canadian media? How much more consolidation is to come?

As you know, we just announced a consolidation deal. [In November, Torstar and Postmedia Network Canada Corp. swapped 41 newspapers and subsequently shut down most of them.] Publishing newspapers – dailies and weeklies – is becoming more and more challenging. In an effort to lengthen the runway, give us more time, these amalgamation deals have been done.
Susan_Krashinsky  Torstar  digital_media  digital_strategies  newspapers  digital_first  cost-cutting  subscriptions  paywalls  layoffs  consolidation 
february 2018 by jerryking
How Peloton is Marketing a $2,000 Bike Beyond the Rich - WSJ
By Alexandra Bruell
Oct. 25, 2017

When Carolyn Tisch Blodgett joined fitness startup Peloton as its brand marketing lead a year-and-a-half ago, the company’s executives were focused on promoting the functionality of their product -- a $1,995 stationary bike with an attached tablet and a $39-a-month subscription service for access to live and on-demand classes.

What they were missing, however, was a compelling brand story about the bike’s convenience and its role in connecting riders around the country, largely through a leaderboard that displays rider data, said Ms. Blodgett.

“My challenge over the last year-and-a-half has been telling this brand story,” she said. “We wanted to bring the product to life but also the brand.”

Ms. Blodgett also conducted research showing that the company had been targeting a core, affluent audience, but overlooking a less affluent consumer who was willing to splurge on a convenient fitness habit.

Peloton is now shifting gears with a new financing program ($97 per month for 39 months for both the bike and subscription service), an ad campaign that’s more relatable to a diverse consumer base and an NBC Olympics sponsorship.
Peloton  fitness  storytelling  brand_identity  brands  data_driven  connected_devices  subscriptions  overlooked  overlooked_opportunities  functionality 
october 2017 by jerryking
Verizon Wants to Build an Advertising Juggernaut. It Needs Your Data First - WSJ
By Ryan Knutson
Sept. 5, 2017

Verizon still wants customers to opt-in to its most comprehensive advertising program, called Verizon Selects. Data collected under the program is shared with Oath, the digital-media unit Verizon created when it bought AOL and Yahoo.

Since access to data from customers could make it easier to tailor ads to their liking, Verizon hopes the information will help it gain advertising revenue to offset sluggish growth in its cellular business. .....Verizon makes it clear during the sign-up process what data consumers are giving up: Information about their demographics and interests, what websites they visit, what apps and features they use, and their location.

The disclaimer quickly drew criticism in the tech world. Adam Levin, a consumer advocate and founder of data-security firm CyberScout, warned in a column on HuffPost that the “hidden cost of Verizon’s ’free’ rewards program is your data.”
Verizon  privacy  loyalty_management  digital_strategies  location_based_services  opt-in  Verizon_Up  subscriptions  advertising  personal_data  Verizon_Selects 
september 2017 by jerryking
Amazon Plans to Launch Prime Now Service in Canada This Year - WSJ
By David George-Cosh
Updated Aug. 31, 2017
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 1.34% is working on plans to roll out its one- and two-hour membership delivery service into Canada later this year, a move that marks a broader push into the country by the Seattle-based retailer, according to people familiar with the matter.

Amazon could begin offering its Prime Now service in Vancouver and Toronto in November and January, respectively, under a pilot program that will deliver groceries and other items within a two-hour window, ......Grocery spending in Canada is approximately worth C$103 billion, but just 1.9% of that is spent online, according to Nielsen Co. Online grocery shopping is expected to grow to 5.3% of total spending by 2020, accounting for C$6 billion in sales, Nielsen said.

Any further entry by Amazon into the Canadian grocery-delivery space is expected to weigh on companies such as Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Empire Co. Ltd. as well as the domestic arms of stores such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. , which all have explored shipping online grocery orders to Canadian doorsteps.......Amazon’s Fresh grocery delivery service, which costs U.S. customers $14.99 on top of annual Prime membership, is not yet available in Canada......it’s unlikely that Amazon will be able to create a comparable temperature-reliant supply chain in Canada for some time. “Amazon is not able to match the Canadian grocers in terms of procurement scale,”
Amazon  Canada  AmazonFresh  Amazon_Prime  pilot_programs  memberships  subscriptions  retailers  cold_storage  same-day 
september 2017 by jerryking
Netflix Canada hikes prices as streaming competition heats up - The Globe and Mail
DAVID FRIEND
TORONTO — The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017

The popular video streaming service is hiking prices for new members effective immediately. It will do the same for existing users after notifying them by e-mail in the coming weeks.

Netflix’s standard plan will now cost a dollar more – or $10.99 a month – to watch content on two screens at a time.

The basic plan, which does not offer high definition video and only permits one streaming screen at a time, also goes up a dollar to $8.99 a month.

Premium plan subscribers will pay $2 more for up to four simultaneous streams and ultra high-definition 4K content. It will now cost $13.99 monthly.

It’s the first price increase in nearly two years that affects subscribers in Canada.
price_hikes  Netflix  streaming  subscriptions 
august 2017 by jerryking
Subscription Music Service Sounds a New Note: Profit - WSJ
By Ethan Smith
Updated June 30, 2017

NYC-based Saavn is a relative minnow among them, with 22 million monthly active users who are predominantly in India and seven nearby nations. To them it offers a free service with unlimited access to 30 million songs—both Indian and Western—in exchange for sitting through ads. Charts and playlists spotlight music from various regions, eras and artists, such as Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.

Outside South Asia, Saavn is subscription-only. For around $5 a month, users in the U.S., U.K. and about 200 countries gain access to 11 million songs, most of them Bollywood tunes and other Indian music. Users in India can pay 99 rupees (about $1.54) a month for an ad-free “pro” option.

The service also offers music from 10 artists it has signed directly to record label-style deals, along with 30 talk shows.
ad_supported  free  Bollywood  Spotify  Apple_Music  streaming  ethnic_communities  music  India  subscriptions  Indian-Americans 
june 2017 by jerryking
The End of Car Ownership - WSJ
By Tim Higgins
June 20, 2017

Thanks to ride sharing and the looming introduction of self-driving vehicles, the entire model of car ownership is being upended—and very soon may not look anything like it has for the past century.

Drivers, for instance, may no longer be drivers, relying instead on hailing a driverless car on demand, and if they do decide to buy, they will likely share the vehicle—by renting it out to other people when it isn’t in use.

Auto makers, meanwhile, already are looking for ways to sustain their business as fewer people make a long-term commitment to a car.

And startups will spring up to develop services that this new ownership model demands—perhaps even create whole new industries around self-driving cars and ride sharing.

**Drivers: No more permanent arrangements**
The business of ride sharing may take on some new forms. Startups such as Los Angeles-based Faraday Future envision selling subscriptions to a vehicle (e.g. a certain number of hours a day, on a regular schedule for a fixed price).....Other companies are experimenting with the idea of allowing drivers to access more than just one kind of vehicle through a subscription.....Elon Musk has hinted that he’s preparing to create a network of Tesla owners that could rent out their self-driving cars to make money....Companies are already looking at how to market vehicles to overcome some of the possible psychological resistance to nonownership. Waymo, the self-driving tech unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., has begun public trials of self-driving minivans in Phoenix for select users, with the eventual goal of testing them with hundreds of families.

**Big auto makers: Making peace with on-demand services**
As a result of both driverless cars and fleets of robot taxis, sales of conventionally purchased automobiles may likely drop. What’s more, because autonomous cars will likely be designed to be on the road longer with easily upgradable or replaceable parts, the results could be devastating to auto makers that have built businesses around two-car households buying new vehicles regularly. Currently, cars get replaced every 60 months on average...to get drivers to buy a vehicle of their own is to help owners rent out their vehicles,....GM is hedging all bets, investing in autonomous vehicles, Lyft, a car sharing service (Maven) and allowing Cadillac customers the ability to subscribe to ownership.

**New businesses: Helping to power a new industry**
....Autonomous vehicles could ultimately free up more than 250 million hours of consumers’ commuting time a year, unlocking a new so-called passenger economy, .....turn away from using the exterior of the vehicle as a selling point and focusing on making the interior as comfortable and loaded with features as possible.... turning cars into living rooms on wheels:.....Design firms will also cook up features designed to ease people into the practice of sharing rides regularly (with strangers).....allowing cars recognize to passengers’ digital profiles and become more responsive to their needs (caledaring, eating habits, etc.)....Existing industries may change to support an autonomous, shared future. For instance, the alcohol industry might see a rise in drinks consumed weekly with customers not having to worry about driving home,....Managing autonomous car fleets may be a new line of business for dealerships
automotive_industry  automobile  on-demand  autonomous_vehicles  end_of_ownership  Waymo  Tesla  sharing_economy  ride_sharing  start_ups  transportation  ownership  accessibility  Zoox  dealerships  Lyft  Maven  Reachnow  Getaround  subscriptions  Faraday  passenger_economy  connected_cars 
june 2017 by jerryking
Self-Storage Startups Offer Pickup and Delivery - WSJ
By Peter Grant
June 20, 2017

A handful of startups such as Clutter Inc. and MakeSpace Labs Inc. are using the latest in logistics and web technology to offer what they claim is a more efficient and user-friendly way for people to store furniture, keepsakes, sports equipment and other stuff that has been clogging up their basements and attics.

They work differently from the 40,000 or so traditional self-storage facilities that basically offer garages or sheds for customers to fill up as they please. The new competitors pick up and deliver items instead of forcing customers to schlep items to their facilities like the incumbent firms do. The upstarts also photograph what they store, and customers can view their items online and ask for some or all of them back with a click.....Executives at the big self-storage companies, like Public Storage , CubeSmart and Extra Space Storage Inc., say they aren’t worried. They say the startups’ costs of transportation and handling will be so high they won’t be able to price their service competitively.......Ms. Durkay predicted that the big companies will respond if the startups become more competitive. “To the extent that we have a…revolution in the way people are using storage facilities, the management teams may be able to pivot and modify their strategies.”

Mr. Rosen, of MakeSpace, said he isn’t surprised Public Storage failed at what he and others are trying to do. “They’re a real-estate business,” he said. “What do they know about logistics?”......Executives at the startups say they can keep prices low partly by locating facilities in cheaper spaces far away from customers. Traditional facilities generally are just a few miles away from customers’ homes, and this can drive up costs in high-price real-estate markets like New York and San Francisco.

Moving and handling items clearly drives up prices......“It would become cloud storage for your things,” said Brendan Wallace, co-founder of Fifth Wall.
storage  self-storage  logistics  messiness  hoarding  decluttering  urban  upstarts  Second_Closet  subscriptions  physical_assets  artifacts  home-delivery 
june 2017 by jerryking
Washington Post, Breaking News, Is Also Breaking New Ground - The New York Times
Common Sense
By JAMES B. STEWART MAY 19, 2017
Scoops — and high-quality journalism more generally — are integral to The Post’s business model at a time when the future of digital journalism seemed to be veering toward the lowest common denominator of exploding watermelons and stupid pet tricks.

“Investigative reporting is absolutely critical to our business model,” Mr. Baron told me. “We add value. We tell people what they didn’t already know. We hold government and powerful people and institutions accountable. This cannot happen without financial support. We’re at the point where the public realizes that and is willing to step up and support that work by buying subscriptions.”.........Mr. Huber noted that given the winner-take-all nature of the internet, the sources of scoops are gravitating toward just a few news outlets led by The Times and The Post. Sources (and people who want to “leak”) go to a publication with the most impact; opinion makers and influencers seek the publication with the most sources and scoops — hence the “network effect” so coveted in technology circles, and one well understood by Mr. Bezos.

When I asked Mr. Baron to name one thing that has driven the turnaround, his immediate answer was Mr. Bezos — and not because of his vast fortune.

“The most fundamental thing Jeff did was to change our strategy entirely,” Mr. Baron said. “We were a news organization that focused on the Washington region, so our vision was constrained. Jeff said from the start that wasn’t the right strategy. Our industry had suffered due to the internet, but the internet also brought gifts, and we should recognize that. It made distribution free, which gave us the opportunity to be a national and even international news organization, and we should recognize and take advantage of that.”.....“Today you have to be great at everything,” Mr. Hartman said. “You have to be great at technology. You have to be great at monetization. But one thing I think we’re proving is that if you are, great journalism can be profitable.”
journalism  investigative_journalism  WaPo  scoops  informants  winner-take-all  network_effects  sources  leaks  opinon_makers  digital_strategies  NYT  WSJ  Jeff_Bezos  subscriptions  paywalls  high-quality 
may 2017 by jerryking
When local news outlets shutter due to cuts, we all lose - The Globe and Mail
ELIZABETH RENZETTI
The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Apr. 01, 2017

Local journalism, whether it’s at a city paper or a weekly, a radio or TV station, keeps its community entertained and informed. The National isn’t going to send a camera crew to cover the profoundly annoying pothole on Main Street, or the feud between the dress-shop owners, or the cozy relationship between the mayor and the developers. The Globe and Mail is not likely to, either: This is where the country’s 1,060 community papers come in – or where they used to. According to a recent report, those papers lost $400-million, or one-third of their revenue, between 2012 and 2015. The Public Policy Forum’s recent report on media in Canada, called The Shattered Mirror, contains an even more alarming statistic: “Since 2010, there have been 225 weekly and 27 daily newspapers lost to closure or merger in more than 200 federal ridings.” Local television coverage has contracted as well.

“Well, so what?” you might ask. Your neighbourhood has a Facebook page. The mayor has a Twitter account. Except that none of your neighbours is going to sit through a long and boring zoning meeting and report back (unless he is particularly weird). And the mayor’s Twitter feed? Undeniably good if you’re looking for sunshine and kittens. Not so good for anything she doesn’t want you to see. When provincial legislatures and city councils are left unwatched, it also means no one is keeping an eye on the sausage-making machine of democracy......The problem of fleeing ad dollars and subscribers won’t be settled so easily, either: The industry has struggled with these pains for years. Not-for-profit foundations that run news outlets might be one idea, or hyper-local websites that are crowdsourced by neighbours.....In his farewell column, Kevin Diakiw wrote, “Moving forward, you will likely receive your information from the Internet, or newsrooms pared to the bone. Be sure to read not only information that fits your own narrative, but opposing views as well.

“The weighty responsibility of hunting for balance and accuracy now lands largely on your shoulders.”
newspapers  rural  community  journalism  opposing_actions  journalists  provincial_legislatures  engaged_citizenry  city_councils  local  print_journalism  subscriptions  dual-consciousness  Postmedia  consolidation  local_journalism 
april 2017 by jerryking
More Wretched News for Newspapers as Advertising Woes Drive Anxiety - The New York Times
By SYDNEY EMBER OCT. 27, 2016

With print advertising continuing to drop precipitously, you would be hard-pressed to find a newsroom devoid of uncertainty anywhere in the country....Across the country, those working in the newspaper industry are fretting as the end of the year approaches. Driving much of the anxiety is a steep drop in print ad revenue, once the lifeblood for newspapers....At the same time, digital advertising and other forms of revenue have been slow to pick up the slack, leading news companies, including The New York Times, The Guardian and Gannett, the owner of USA Today, to cut costs by downsizing....Across the industry, similar declines in print advertising coupled with the shift to digital and, increasingly, mobile, are driving newspaper companies to reconfigure their newsrooms. ...The Times has also announced its intent to make subscriptions the driving source of its revenue...
newspapers  advertising  layoffs  WSJ  NYT  digital_media  cost-cutting  subscriptions  print_journalism 
october 2016 by jerryking
Amazon's prime strategy
30 July /31 July 2016 | | Financial Times | Leslie Hook.

"The competition is less about Amazon versus Walmart. it is Amazon versus Netflix versus Google versus Apple versus Facebook" Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora.
Amazon  subscriptions  user_generated  customer_loyalty  online_identity  FAANG  customer_data  customer_identity  Amazon_Prime  loyalty_management 
august 2016 by jerryking
Why the human cloud can do your work better than you can - The Globe and Mail
IVOR TOSSELL
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Nav Dhunay is offering oil-wells-as-a-service.

PumpWell puts small remote-monitoring and control units next to pumpjacks, the iconic bobbing horse-heads that pump oil from wells. “That in itself is not disruptive or extremely exciting,” says Dhunay. “But it’s more than just an automation controller.” What sets PumpWell apart is what they’re really selling: people. Instead of just offering a technological tool that lets oil-well owners keep an eye on their pumps, PumpWell has hired a team of its own oil-production engineers, and it sells their time to small and mid-sized firms on a subscription basis. “We’re combining the outsourcing model of IT, and tying it into the oil and gas industry,” says Dhunay.....Dhunay is a start-up entrepreneur who found himself heading up PumpWell in Calgary after stints in Silicon Valley. As he explains it, the logic is simple: Labour costs are sky-high in the oil sector. A seasoned production engineer can run you upward of $200,000 a year, and then there’s the overhead of having him running around oil fields in a truck, checking on things.

PumpWell can use its remote networks to keep oil engineers out of the field, run analytics on monitoring data to promote preventative maintenance, and increase the number of pumps each engineer can monitor. The company’s top-tier plan offers to monitor a pump for $12,000 a year. Today, PumpWell looks after 600 wells and, Dhunay says, it’s revenue-positive. “Our industrial engineers can manage upward of 150 to 200 wells per person. Traditionally, production engineers are handling 30 to 40.”

It’s not the only company that’s using cloud technology to take outsourcing services into new realms. Across the country, in Cambridge, Ontario, a cybersecurity company is applying much the same model to an entirely different business. ESentire specializes in securing the networks of mid-sized companies with critical intellectual property, like financial services and legal firms.
SaaS  oil_industry  Outsourcing  remote_monitoring  cyber_security  small_business  SMEs  subscriptions  cloud_computing  top-tier 
july 2015 by jerryking
Andreessen Horowitz Invests in 'Big Data' Analytics Firm Adatao - NYTimes.com
By WILLIAM ALDEN AUGUST 7, 2014.

Andreessen Horowitz and the other investors in the round, which include Lightspeed Venture Partners and Bloomberg Beta, are betting that companies will embrace Adatao’s subscription-based software. The software, which aims to combine analytical rigor with intuitive design, lets companies search for patterns in the troves of data they collect in their regular course of business.

Christopher T. Nguyen, the chief executive and co-founder of Adatao, said he had already signed up customers in telecommunications and finance, though he declined to identify them.
massive_data_sets  Andreessen_Horowitz  pattern_recognition  Marc_Andreessen  subscriptions 
august 2014 by jerryking
H.P.’s Misstep Shows Risk in the Push for Big Ideas - NYTimes.com
November 21, 2012 | NYT | By QUENTIN HARDY.

The ill-fated marriage of the companies is a lesson for H.P. and other older technology giants as they throw billions at supposedly game-changing acquisitions, trying to gain a foothold in the future.

In that future, smartphones and tablets, connected to cloud-computing data centers, are the essential tools of work and play. Companies rent software over the air, rather than buying it with expensive maintenance contracts.

And vast streams of data are continually analyzed to find new patterns and make predictions about consumer behavior and product design. Autonomy, for instance, makes software that can analyze marketing patterns and advise a company on matters like where it should increase marketing resources.

These forces threaten older businesses, like H.P.’s traditional personal computer and data storage products. Other companies, like Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco, also face pressure. They are all trying to buy the future — and have the cash to do it..... But identifying the next big thing can be difficult, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor of management at Yale University. Likely as not, he said, deals like the one for Autonomy have “maybe a 40 percent success, 60 percent failure rate.”

He added, “The odds are against you succeeding, but the odds are also worth taking.”

The real hazard, he said, is in the way companies describe these acquisitions as “natural, inevitable victories.” They should be seen, he said, as “an investment, like in research and development.”
Autonomy  big_bets  breakthroughs  cloud_computing  cultural_clash  failure  game_changers  HP  ideas  M&A  Meg_Whitman  mergers_&_acquisitions  mistakes  missteps  moonshots  Quentin_Hardy  risks  SaaS  subscriptions  success_rates 
november 2012 by jerryking
As Netflix’s plot thickens, CEO strives to hone an edge
Sep. 10 2012 |The Globe and Mail | OMAR EL AKKAD - TECHNOLOGY REPORTER.

While such expansion helps to quickly build Netflix's customer base, it tends to hammer the bottom line. The company's business model relies on paying for content licenses up front, and then slowly making its money back through customer subscription fees. However, that means Netflix is currently losing money in many of its overseas markets – about $100-million a quarter from its United Kingdom and Latin America operations. Even in Canada, where Netflix constitutes the biggest single use of consumer Internet bandwidth, Netflix is only now starting to break even.
Netflix  Reed_Hastings  licensing  licensing_rights  subscriptions  streaming  web_video  challenges  opportunities  piracy  Omar_el_Akkad  competitive_landscape  digital_media  slight_edge 
september 2012 by jerryking
Netflix vs. Naysayers - WSJ.com
March 27, 2007 | WSJ | By NICK WINGFIELD

CEO Hastings Keeps Growth Strong; Plans for Future After Death of DVDs. In the decade since Netflix Inc. NFLX +3.07% began renting DVDs online, CEO Reed Hastings has faced down a murderers' row of rivals.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., WMT -0.59% Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +0.72% and Blockbuster Inc. have all piled into the market with services that mail DVDs to consumers who've ordered them over the Web.

...WSJ: You've started letting some of your subscribers watch movies from your Web site. How seriously are you pushing into Internet-delivery of movies?

Hastings: We're taking it pretty aggressively. We're investing about $40 million into it this year. We feel that that's the appropriate size investment, given the size of the market. If you overinvest in a market, of course, a lot of the money is wasted.

If you underinvest, then someone else can get ahead of you. We'll be up to 5,000 films by the end of the year, open to all of our subscribers....

WSJ: Blockbuster was once dismissive of Netflix, but now they're taking you very seriously. Did their initial attitude affect the way you view potential threats to Netflix?

Hastings: Absolutely. We have to recognize that now there are tens and maybe hundreds of start-ups who think that they're going to eat Netflix's lunch. The challenge for a management team is to figure out which are real threats and which aren't.... It's conventional to say, "only the paranoid survive" but that's not true. The paranoid die because the paranoid take all threats as serious and get very distracted.(jk....which threats are worthy of my attention?==> distinguish between illusory and legitimate threats and fears.)

...WSJ: What are some examples of how you were choosy in reacting to potential threats to Netflix?

Hastings: There are markets that aren't going to get very big, and then there are markets that are going to get big, but they're not directly in our path. In the first camp we have small companies like Movielink -- a well-run company but not an attractive model for consumers, sort of a $4-download to watch a movie. We correctly guessed when it launched four years ago that this was not a threat and didn't react to it.

The other case I brought up is markets that are going to be very large markets, but we're just not the natural leader. Advertising supported online video, whether that's at CBS.com or YouTube -- great market, kind of next door to us. But we don't do advertising-supported video, we do subscription, so it would be a huge competence expansion for us. And it's not a threat to movies.
Netflix  Reed_Hastings  CEOs  DVDs  downloads  streaming  subscriptions  threats  large_markets  discernment  paranoia  distractions  overextended 
june 2012 by jerryking
Selling Online Products by Subscription Is All the Rage - NYTimes.com
By DARREN DAHL
March 7, 2012

lately, more businesses have come up with creative ways to use the Internet to sell products that have not traditionally been sold by subscription. H.Bloom, which operates in New York, Chicago and Washington, sells flowers by subscription; Trunk Club sells clothing by subscription (if you do not like what the store sends, you can return it). Amazon encourages customers to place standing orders for products like power bars or paper towels.

“C.E.O.’s are beginning to appreciate the value of recurring revenue in ways never seen before...Given the experiences of companies like PetFlow, ShoeDazzle and BabbaCo, it is tempting to wonder why not every company is trying a subscription model. And, in fact, Brian Lee, the founder of ShoeDazzle, said he frequently heard pitches from entrepreneurs who wanted to create the ShoeDazzle of wine or underwear or some other product. “I think subscription models work best in two instances,” he said. “Where the product is a necessity or when it’s an absolute passion. It stops making sense when you try to do something like a tree-of-the-month club, which doesn’t fit either of those categories.”
business_models  subscriptions  pets  florists  SaaS  e-commerce  end_of_ownership 
march 2012 by jerryking
The Door-To-Door Billionaire Daryl Harms knows how to turn dull businesses into big profits. But can he really do it with your garbage? - May 1, 2003
By Ed Welles
May 1, 2003

Harms spots trends sooner and bears down harder than most entrepreneurs--a combination that has made him wildly wealthy, if not exactly famous. But his next venture--more on that later-- just might transform him into a household name on the order of, say, Warren Buffett. Like Buffett, Daryl Harms, 51, patiently trolls for perfect businesses in which he can build long-term value via his Masada Resource Group, based in Birmingham. He hunts down overlooked opportunities that don't trade on trendy brand names or cutting-edge technologies...When selling cable service, Harms went block to block, zeroing in on houses with the tallest antennas. Other salesfolk reflexively bypassed such homes because they assumed that better reception wasn't an issue for them. Harms targeted those customers first. "I told them, 'I can see you stand tall. Of all the people on the street you understand the value of TV,' " he recalls saying. " 'If we put cable in, you can compare it with what you have now. If you don't like it, we'll come back and take it out.' " Such "influencers," in Harms's lingo, made it easier for him to convert whole blocks....Spurred by a poll that showed that 92% of Americans considered themselves "environmentalists," Harms and his employees spent a year studying the recycling market only to decide that the real money lay in garbage. From there they sought out the best ethanol conversion technology. Having found it--at the Tennessee Valley Authority--they worked for five years to tweak the science, an effort that has earned Masada 18 patents. "Today's risky business climate warrants thoroughness," Harms says..."The theme is that there is always a consumer need to be addressed," explains Wheeler. "People will always talk on the phone, watch television, and produce garbage."...Asking the right question, it seems, comes naturally to Harms. Entrepreneurs fail, he believes, because they "get too microscopic in their thinking. In business it's very easy to get the right answer to the wrong question." According to Wheeler, Harms failed to ask the right question when he set up a venture called Postron, which allowed cable TV subscribers to receive their bills via cable and print them out on a printer attached to their TVs. What Harms didn't ask, says Wheeler, was "whether consumers wanted another piece of hardware." They didn't...Harms finds customers where no one else thinks to look. When he started selling burglar alarms in 1985, he didn't target high-crime areas. Instead he identified places where the perception of vulnerability was greatest--which he determined by calculating how much space the local paper devoted to crime. The first cellphone license he sought was for a desolate stretch of highway between Lincoln and Omaha rather than in a major population center. Why? Because, as Page says, "what else were people going to do in their cars but talk on the phone?" Aside from overlooked customers, Harms seeks another component to every business: recurring revenue of roughly $25 a month per user. "That's a bite that most people can get used to paying," he reasons. For him it translates into healthy cash flow, which fosters predictability and enables a business to survive hard times. Besides, "the more reliable the cash flow, the higher a multiple of that cash flow you can get for your company," he notes.
entrepreneur  moguls  counterintuitive  overlooked_opportunities  unglamorous  latent  hidden  cash_flows  questions  missed_opportunities  wide-framing  hard_times  predictability  consumer_needs  subscriptions  thinking_big  asking_the_right_questions 
november 2011 by jerryking
Information Wants to Be Expensive - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 23, 2009 WSJ op-ed by L. GORDON CROVITZ arguing that newspapers need to act like they're worth something.


Time magazine published a cover story earlier this month headlined "How to Save Your Newspaper." In it, former Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson noted how odd it is to charge for subscriptions in print but not online. "Even an old print junkie like me has quit subscribing to the New York Times, because if it doesn't see fit to charge me for its content, I'd feel like a fool paying for it. This is not a business model that makes sense."......People are happy to pay for news and information however it's delivered, but only if it has real, differentiated value. Traders must have their Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters terminal. Lawyers wouldn't go to court without accessing the Lexis or West online service..........By 2007, the Journal's Web site had reached one million paying subscribers who value full access and convenient navigation to its unique business news. Another 20 million people each month read Journal articles made available free. Likewise, the Financial Times and ESPN generate significant online revenues from subscribers, along with free content. So do consumer services such as Consumer Reports and Zagat. Steve Jobs proved we'll pay up to $1 for digital songs on iTunes, and Amazon's Kindle established $10 as reasonable for a digital book. .........For years, publishers and editors have asked the wrong question: Will people pay to access my newspaper content on the Web? The right question is: What kind of journalism can my staff produce that is different and valuable enough that people will pay for it online?..........newspaper journalists still report the key local news. American Lawyer founder Steven Brill argues that "local newspapers are the best brands, and people will pay a small amount to get information -- whether it be a zoning board or a Little League game -- that they can't get anywhere else." A few local newspapers, such as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, charge for access online, knowing their news can't be found elsewhere...........When author Stewart Brand coined the expression "Information wants to be free," he focused on how technology makes it cheap and easy to communicate and share knowledge. But the rest of his quote is rarely noticed.

This says, "Information also wants to be expensive." The right information in today's complex economy and society can make a huge difference in our professional and personal lives. Not having this information can also make a big difference, especially if someone else does have it. And for valuable information, online is a great new way for it to be valued.
asking_the_right_questions  Bloomberg  brands  differentiation  digital_media  information  iTunes  journalism  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  Lexis  local_journalism  newspapers  op_ed  questions  Steve_Jobs  Steven_Brill  Stewart_Brand  subscriptions  Thomson_Reuters  TIME_Inc.  traders  Walter_Isaacson 
february 2009 by jerryking

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